ILLUSTRATION BY ANDREW LAM

Return of CIF Sports: the problems, benefits

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The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) announced plans to recontinue sports in mid-December. Current reopening guidelines require that all students and coaches be screened daily, that anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 not attend practice or games, and that face masks are worn, except in high-intensity aerobic sports.

PRO

By: Ken Yu

December has come, and it will have been eight months since strict COVID-19 guidelines and lockdown procedures have been implemented which brought the nation to a virtual standstill. Although the pandemic is still a major risk to health, adaptations can occur so our lives do not remain stagnated. 

Resuming CIF is one way. 

Sports have long been acclaimed for its beneficial effects towards not only the physical body, but also to mental health. Humans are, by nature, social beings, and sports helps achieve the needs of both the body and mind, which has become even more essential to maintain in these times. Students have likely not seen their fellow players for months, creating gaps within their team that can potentially hurt them when CIF resumes. In addition, some students only feel motivated to exercise when with teammates, making it increasingly essential that CIF resume for more frequent practice. 

Although there are concerns that sports will be difficult to play in accordance to social distancing protocols, it is a necessary sacrifice in order to responsibly and safely play sports. Some protocols are, at best, a minor hindrance, and current practice routines can be adapted to them. For example, volleyball safety guidelines mandate that any drills with volleyball must be done individually with each player to their own ball. While this is a tedious procedure to go through, it is not entirely different from the way individual drills were before the pandemic, where time was made for individual drilling with coach supervision.

Although the risks exist, students stand to benefit from reconnecting with each other through sports, helping relieve the pressure and mental fatigue of the pandemic. Resuming CIF, with the addition of strict guidelines,  will be one of many ways to adapt and bring lives from a halt to a slow walk, ensuring that even in times of uncertainty and fear, people will still be able to move forward.

ILLUSTRATION BY ANDREW LAM

CON

By: Andrew Lam

CIF sports must not resume because the dangers of COVID-19 are ever-present and worsening, reminding us that reopening cannot begin safely.

CIF plans to resume sports in mid-December, which is the worst time to reopen. There has been a recent surge in cases in Los Angeles County, with over 17,000 new cases on Nov. 23, the largest increase yet. This highlights that we are still in the thick of the pandemic, and reopening cannot be safely conducted. Resuming sports displays ignorance of this fact, and such a disregard would have drastic consequences, especially since CIF’s proposed reopening date would coincide with flu season. The flu may exacerbate the pandemic.

Following social distancing protocols and staying safe will be difficult with sports. Although CIF requires athletes to adhere to local mask guidelines, athletes in sports involving “high-intensity aerobic activity” are exempt from these guidelines because masks would restrict their ability to breathe. This poses a concerning health risk for athletes, as there is now a window of opportunity for infection. In such aerobic sports, athletes may come into close contact with each other. Masks act as a barrier to infection in close quarters, and by taking away this vital barrier, all protection is removed. Having already claimed thousands of lives in Los Angeles County alone, this virus has proven itself deadly. No chances can be taken when it comes to the health and safety of athletes.

Having been in quarantine for months now, moving on and accepting these inevitable health risks as intrinsic to our daily lives seems to be the only option. Today, the situation is far from normal, and reopening can begin once the situation is actually normal. By reopening at the correct time, these health risks do not have to be inevitable. Rushing reopening would be one of the greatest mistakes in this pandemic because the guidance is not fully fleshed out yet. Without guidance, reopening would be sloppy and uncalculated, spiraling the situation out of control once more.

In order to ensure a safe transition back to normal life, CIF must wait for the statistics to indicate that the curve is flattening and proper reopening guidance to be given. This guidance should outline the process of resuming activities, like sports, in great detail to ensure reopening safely. Safety cannot be shrugged aside and must be of paramount priority when planning reopening.

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